The UConn women’s soccer team defeated American Athletic Conference rival Cincinnati 2-0 in a road clash at Gettler Stadium on Thursday night. With the win, the Huskies (15-2-1, 7-0-1 The American) moved just one win away from the conference regular season title. Cincinnati fell to 10-5-3 overall, with a 3-3-2 record in conference play.
Senior forward Stephanie Ribeiro opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of the match, as she headed away a ball from sophomore Heidi Druehl for her 17th goal of the season. Ribeiro leads the nation in scoring, as well as total points with 45.
The goal also represented Ribeiro’s 10th game-winning goal of the 2016 season, which leads the nation.
The remainder of the first half was quiet. The Bearcats outshot the Huskies 8-5 in the half, with UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong making three saves to keep her team on top. Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith made one save in the first half.
Cincinnati came out of the halftime break on an offensive tear, registering seven shots within the first 11 minutes, but the Bearcats could not find the back of the net. A potential goal for Cincinnati was waved off for goalkeeper interference.
UConn doubled their lead in the 70th minute as senior forward Rachel Hill scored an unassisted goal. Hill moved into second place on the program’s all-time scoring list with the goal, which was her 58th as a Husky.
Despite a 2-0 deficit, the Bearcats did not give up and peppered Armstrong with shots down the stretch. The senior goalkeeper made two saves in the last five minutes as the Huskies held on for a 2-0 victory despite being outshot 26-10 overall. Cincinnati outshot UConn 18-5 in the second half alone.
Armstrong made 10 saves in the win, which tied her previous season-best. The game was her ninth shutout of the season.
With the win, UConn extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games, and their winning streak to five games.
The Huskies will put both of their streaks on the line Sunday as they play their last regular season match of the season on the road at East Carolina. With a win against the Pirates, UConn will clinch the No. 1 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament and will receive hosting rights for the tournament.
East Carolina has a 5-11-1 record this season, including a 1-6-1 mark in American play. The Pirates are 3-5-1 on their home field at Johnson Stadium.
The Pirates’ leading scorer is Lana Spitler, who has racked up seven goals and four assists this season. Courtney Cash has five goals and three assists, while Annah Lindberg has one goal.
The primary goalkeeper for East Carolina is Caroline Jeffers, who has a 2.21 goals against average in 17 games played this season.
The Pirates have been outshot 239-210 by opponents this season, and have been outscored 38-21.
UConn and East Carolina will play Sunday afternoon at Johnson Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.